The level of national and international validation of Cork’s strengths and potential is consistent and striking.
The National Planning Framework (NPF) 2040 states that the city has already positioned itself as an emerging medium-sized European centre of growth and innovation. Under NPF, the Government’s blueprint for strategic planning and investment, Cork is now the city with most growth potential in the country.
According to the Financial Times fDi European Cities and Regions of the future 2018/19, Cork is the:
Best small city in Europe for business friendliness
One of Europe’s top 25 European cities of the future ahead of Copenhagen. Hamburg & Geneva
One of Europe’s top 10 small European cities of the future
Given that Cork has been voted as one of the top 10 cities to visit by the Lonely Planet Guide, it is internationally recognised for the vibrancy of its arts and cultural offering, as the Food Capital and Festival Capital of Ireland, it is clear that the city, in terms of key business and quality of life metrics, scores very well.
Cork City is now larger, more diverse and positive. Even the most disinterested will be aware of the dynamic phase of development that Cork City is undergoing at present. The development isn’t planned or proposed but it’s happening. In projects already underway, 10,000 new jobs will be created in the city centre within seven years.
NPF 2014 envisages that Cork will become the fastest-growing city region in Ireland with a projected 50% to 60% population increase in 20 years time. That is a remarkable pace of development by any standards.
How that growth is managed is now the major challenge facing the city. How people get to and from work, how children get to and from school, where people live, how the economy of Cork functions, how the movement of goods is efficient and cost effective – all of these issues need to be addressed in a cohesive and integrated manner.
Traffic congestion and debilitating delays will inevitably result from the kind of growth envisaged for Cork unless dependence on the private car is addressed and alternative transport modalities are introduced.
Cork City Council’s vision is focused on creating a city of sustainable urban growth…
Cork City Council’s vision is focused on creating a city of sustainable urban growth – a city that is built for the future, where families can live close to work, schools, green spaces and public transport.
The key to implementing that vision is public transport, which is why the NTA’s recently published Draft Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy is of such significance. The strategy envisages radical and exciting changes that will redefine and improve life in the ‘New City’.
The Strategy proposes a €3.5 transformation of life in the city and in the Cork Metropolitan area through the provision of world class public transport service.
Key elements in the Strategy include 100km of bus lanes, six new Park and Ride sites, high frequency East West and North South bus corridors, a light rail system service between Ballincollig and Mahon Point via the City Centre, additional suburban rail services, 200km of new and upgraded pathways, a 200km network of primary cycle-ways and 140km of greensward.
€1.4 billion will be spent on roads, including the M28 to Ringaskiddy, the Dunkettle interchange and on improved orbital routes on the north and south sides of the city.
The global urban mobility landscape is changing rapidly and is redefining the way people move around cities the world over. Cork City, too, needs to embrace those changes.
Nothing remains the same and international experience shows that it is those cities that innovate, have flexible and diverse business models, good quality of life and incorporate sustainable transport options into everyday life that do best.
Public transport that is convenient, accessible and reliable can unlock Cork’s long term potential…
Public transport that is convenient, accessible and reliable can unlock Cork’s long term potential, cut congestion, reclaim road/car park spaces for more greenery and communal spaces and foster healthier lifestyles. The Draft Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy or CMATS for short is a public consultation document that deserves engagement by everyone concerned with the future of Cork.
The Strategy can be accessed at www.nationaltransport.ie/consultations